|Dictator Yaya Jammeh|
The refusal by the State Guard to shoot at protesters is in defiance of orders issued by Yaya Jammeh, the Gambian dictator who has ruled this tiny nation of 2 million. His brute use of force, violence and fear is what made him stay in power for 22 years. Now his power is being challenged by a determined number of Gambians, and it looks like the stand-off is paying off because the military appears to have fragmented further with the State Guard siding with the civilian population.
Jammeh who is still in Ankara, Turkey, where he was attending the Summit of the Organization of Islamic States is directing the uprising by telephone to the other sections of his security apparatus by relying on his Interior Minster, Ousman Sonko, the Inspector General of Police, Ousman Badgie, the Director of National Intelligence Agency, Yankuba Badjie (who's conducting all the torturing) and the head of the paramilitary Unit.
As long as these factions continue to stay loyal, Jammeh can expect to continue to be holed up in Ankara rendering his reentry into Banjul via Banjul International Airport a very dicey proposition. With very few friends in the region, Jammeh's options are very limited which complicates the situation. And unless the security environment improves significantly in the next few days - a highly unlikely scenario - he will be left twisting slowly in the wind.
The opposition parties have, meanwhile, stepped up their game by dominating the social media campaign with the help of international human rights organizations who are concerned about the deteriorating security atmosphere in a country that is known for its poor human rights record. A senior military officer speaking anonymously is quoted as saying "why allow him (meaning Jammeh) to return only to have us killed. He's done it numerous times before, why is it going to be any different this time around if we allow him entry into the country."